Following a certain routine and staying on track with your fitness goals is easy once you make a habit of it. Yoga classes on Monday and Wednesday, workouts at your favorite gym on other workdays, and some light jogging in a nearby park during the weekend.
Paired with a balanced diet you’re already following, consisting of the meals you can either prepare yourself or shop for, and you’re functioning perfectly on autopilot – safe and sound from getting out of shape.
While traveling, you don’t have that kind of familiarity, and you’re tempted by this constant need to explore, to have fun and enjoy everything your destinations have to offer, including local gastronomic delights. With so many challenges, you need to go the extra mile to avoid jeopardizing all your hard work.
Here are a few tips that could help.
The easiest way to get off track while traveling is by not having a plan to stick to. You don’t need to make a schedule for all the days ahead; it would be enough to make a plan for the next day, so you can organize your activities around your workout instead of just trying to cram exercise in at some point.
For example, if you’re going sightseeing tomorrow, but you know you won’t be doing a lot of walking, postpone your dinner plans to have some time for jogging or a workout. Plan the environment of your workout ahead too, as it will make following the schedule much easier. Determine all the available spots – your room, a nearby park, a gym, or a beach, and know where exactly your exercise sessions will take place. Whenever possible, try to exercise outside, in the open, enjoying the views you don’t get to see very often. To be completely sure that the thrill of your travel won’t make you forget about your fitness plans, add a reminder on your cell phone.
Have Your Equipment Ready
If there’s no gym in your hotel, you can still have a full workout session if you carry some basic lightweight portable equipment. These items are easy to squeeze into your suitcase, and you wouldn’t need to give up on your favorite exercises.
So, if you have any of these, they will surely come in handy no matter where you are:
- Pilates rings
- Jump rope
- Resistance bands
Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit too, as well as a pair of your most comfortable leggings that you can wear during different activities.
Embrace the Adventure
The best way to truly enjoy your workouts when traveling is to make them a part of an adventure. Look at exercise as something that will keep you active and excited while learning new things not only about your surroundings, but about yourself, too.
And we’re not talking about the climbing Mount Everest kind of adventure, unless you’re a well-prepared pro. Adventure may mean many different things to different people, and if you believe you should be young or fit to be an adventure traveler, you couldn’t be more wrong.
That’s just one of the top adventure myths that are keeping too many people from getting out of their comfort zone.
So, choose the adventure you feel prepared for – hiking remote beaches or hills, going on a cycling trip, surfing, or learning to scuba dive – whatever your heart longs for and your body will enjoy.
Unfortunately, You Have to Watch Your Diet Too
To all the food lovers out there, this is the hardest part. For most of us, a journey would never feel as great without enjoying simple hedonistic pleasures, such as trying out various local specialties.
Still, the consequences of overindulging can be grave, and you might be surprised to have piled on so quickly the few pounds which you’ve struggled hard to lose. As a solution, commit to sticking to your balanced diet 80 percent of the time and leave 20 percent of your meals for what you will truly enjoy. This way, you’ll have enough room to eat that fantastic cake you saw on the menu, but you’ll eat a small breakfast and a light lunch the day after.
A few more tips on how to make this work:
- Eat a lot of real food – fresh and simple meals.
- Choose restaurants that have a lot of healthy food options.
- Ask for a room with a mini-fridge, so you can have some of your favorite foods stored.
- Never have two heavy meals in a row.
- Track your calorie intake using an app.
- Have some dry fruits and nuts as well as some protein bars with you.
- Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol.
Staying hydrated is crucial for your body to function properly and stay in shape. When traveling, it’s easy to get carried away, forget about healthy habits, and grab a fizzy drink instead of quenching your thirst with some cold water.
When you’re dehydrated, it’s easy to mistake the feeling of thirst for hunger. If you don’t pay attention, you can easily find yourself polishing off a chocolate bar when all your body actually wanted was some plain old H2O. To avoid such situations, always carry your water bottle with you and make sure you meet your daily water intake requirements.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is just as important as staying active and following a balanced diet, so make sleep a priority and go for 7 to 9 hours a night. The lack of sleep negatively affects your hormone levels, making your body produce more cortisol and ghrelin, and less leptin. This leads to various metabolism-related issues, resulting in feeling hungry, bloated, and generally cranky. Less sleep will also make you feel tired, so you’ll be more likely to skip training.
As you see, staying in shape while traveling is not easy, but with a determined mindset, it’s definitely possible. Plus, you’ll enjoy it even more, when you change the same old scenery for a brand new view.
Caitlin is a bookworm, student, and recreational dancer. She is quite passionate about nutrition, fitness, and wellbeing. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and the Universe, Caitlin is researching and writing about various health-related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu, and hiking. To see what she is up to next, check out Caitlin’s Twitter.